Posted by randomtiz
I am excited to kick off the 2014 year with our first post this year! An interview with Steve Dodge from Vibram! Steve is a continuing supporter of the Dogleg Blog and has worked with us before allowing us to test/review a few new Vibram discs before they hit shelves. We are very fortunate that we could connect with Steve for this interview and learn more about Vibram’s annual Birdie Bash for a Dogleg special.
Q&A with Vibram’s Steve Dodge:
DLDG: Thank you Steve for helping make this happen and for being a part of our first post of the year! I know we’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s jump right into it.
So Steve, tell me a little about the history behind the Vibram Birdie Bash (VBB). How did it all start?
Steve: I get bored easily and wanted to create an event that was both easy to run and fun and engaging to play. Discraft’s Ace Race was a great starting point, although it was too minimal for me. After a dozen test events in 2012, adding a second throw, a creative scoring system, and counting metal hits for points were the primary changes that made the event universally fun.
DLDG: What exactly is a Birdie Bash?
Steve: In a sentence, use two discs and get two throws per hole.
- Birdies: 2 Points
- Ace/Eagle: 5 Points
- Any metal hit: 1 Point
For example: hit metal on the drive, sink the birdie putt: 3 points
The Birdie Bash format was created to increase the fun of a good shot and decrease the aggravation of a bad shot.
DLDG: That sounds like a lot of fun. I agree sometimes Ace Race’s can go by way too quick and it’s either all or none. I like the thought of getting more throws in there to where it’s more of a competitive, strategic game rather than a throw-off. OK, so who would play in a Birdie Bash?
Steve: Advanced and Pro players would play to enjoy a great day of fun disc golf, maybe try out some new discs, win some great prizes, and help teach some newer players how great our sport is.
Newer players will find a relaxed atmosphere for one of their first “organized” disc golf events. They will also get some great discs, meet their local discers, and have a chance to win some great prizes.
Basically, if you want to have fun, come play a Birdie Bash.
DLDG: We all love swag! What kind of sweet gear comes with signing up for the VBB?
Steve: $30 gets each player:
- two Vibram discs (of their choice)
- a Vibram dry fit tee
- a Vibram towel, mini, and sticker
As well as a chance to win tons of prizes: http://www.vibramdiscgolf.com/players-pack-and-prizes.html.
DLDG: I’m liking what I hear! That swag tops Ace Race’s in my opinion! And the Birdie Bash is open to anyone, right?
DLDG: I heard that anyone can be a TD for the Birdie Bash too, is that right? Is it really that easy?
Steve: Yes! We have a document that does a step-by-step including prep work, day of, players meeting, getting sponsors and more. It really is a Tournament-In-A-Box.
DLDG: Oh wow, yes that does sound easy! I think sometimes the overall impression about being a first-time TD can be fear of inexperience. I think that is awesome that you guys have put that much time and thought into this that does makes it easy enough for anyone to be a tournament director to run a Birdie Bash.
Now do Birdie Bash tournaments occur during a particular seasonal timeframe or do they go year-round?
Steve: The VBB events are held each Spring. This year they can be held anytime from March 1 to June 1.
DLDG: I know Dogleg has some international readers that might be curious, is the Birdie Bash available outside the US?
Steve: Yes, although not everywhere yet. We are expanding it to Canada, the UK, and the EU. We shut registration a week earlier and charge a little extra for shipping. If it works well, we will expand to Asia and Australia in 2015.
DLDG: Tell me about this Spirit Award. What is that?
Steve: Spirit, or the culture of the disc, is the reason that I want to grow our sport. In short, the ability to compete with honor and respect is what Spirit is all about. This year, we are introducing a Spirit Award which is given to a player that embodies the culture of the disc.
I invite people to read more about my motivation here: http://www.vibramdiscgolf.com/4/post/2013/11/grow-the-sport-why.html
DLDG: I love that idea about the Spirit Award, what characteristics make someone a prime candidate to win the Spirit Award?
Steve: A Spirit Award winner:
Is fair-minded and respectful Has a positive attitude Is happy when someone else makes a great shot Listens and considers Is respected by their competitors Treats others as they want to be treated Believes there is someone else more deserving Instantly helps to find a lost disc Is happy to be surrounded by so many friends Has fun
DLDG: Ok I’m stoked about the VBB concept! Now how can I find out if there’s one close to me?
DLDG: Ok Steve, I’ve got to ask. What is it like working at Vibram? Kind of jealous, it must be awesome! Right?
Steve: I am very fortunate to not only be working in the industry I love, but to also be able to have an impact on it. 3,500 people played in a VBB in 2013. For over 2,000 of these people, it was their first “organized” disc golf event. Additionally, over 40 people TDed their first event. It takes a lot to move an industry and I’m excited to be able to push as much as I can.
DLDG: How long have you been with Vibram? What is your position there?
Steve: 2008: Vibram sponsors Vibram Open, which I TD.
2009: hired by Quabaug, which manufactures for Vibram, as a consultant for Vibram Disc Golf.
2010: Quabaug hired me full time to develop the Vibram Disc Golf business unit
2012: Shifted to Vibram corporate as the Business Unit Manager for Vibram Disc Golf
DLDG: What would you say your top 3 favorite go-to Vibram discs are and why?
Steve: Ibex — it is easy to put on any line and it is forgiving when I don’t put enough pop on it.
Lace — this disc allows me to throw 400′ again, something I had lost for over a decade.
Summit — 80 feet and in, I’ve got a legit chance to sink it with this slow-speed-friendly finesse putter.
DLDG: Can you give us a glimpse of what to expect from Vibram [products] this year?
DLDG: Dang! Lol, I figured that’d be your answer. =) No, but we’re really excited for what’s to come for Vibram this year. Several of the guys here at Dogleg are big fans. Is there any bit of disc golf advice you would like to leave as a takeaway for our Dogleg readers?
Steve: Vinnie Miller once told me, “Brother, this life ain’t long, get happy as fast as you can.” Disc golf makes me happy. My advice, have fun and do good.
DLDG: Thanks again Steve for helping us put together this interview. I’m very excited about the Vibram Birdie Bash and hope to make it to one this year!
Here in Georgia where the Dogleg Headquarters is located, there is already one Birdie Bash set to take place at Patriot’s Park in Grovetown, GA on May 24th. Click to read more on the 2014 Patriot’s Park Birdie Bash.
Some of our fellow Dogleg members are helping with a Birdie Bash in our hometown of Jasper, Alabama. They have two dates set already for March 8th and one later on May 24th. Click for more info on the 2014 North Jasper Park Birdie Bash in March and for the 2014 North Jasper Park “Second Session” Birdie Bash that will take place in May.
To find out if there is a Birdie Bash already scheduled in your area, check out the Vibram Birdie Bash’s Events page.
Want to register for a Birdie Bash? Find your VBB and sign up here.
Want to take it to the next level and host your own Birdie Bash?
Click here to sign up to be a TD.
Follow Steve’s Disc Golf Blog — Vibram Disc Golf Blog
Read More on the Vibram Birdie Bash — BirdieBash.com
“Like” Vibram Disc Golf on Facebook — facebook.com/VibramDiscGolf
Follow Vibram Disc Golf on Twitter — twitter.com/VibramDiscGolf